'Those two guys are world-class and they give Munster a better chance'

Johne Murphy believes the South African World Cup winners can also be an influence on young players.

FORMER MUNSTER MAN Johne Murphy believes new signings Damian de Allende and RG Snyman can push the province to the next level as they chase their first trophy since the Magners League title in 2011.

World Cup-winning Springboks de Allende and Snyman are due to join the province this summer, having signed for Johann van Graan’s side on two-year contracts until 2022.

Murphy feels that 28-year-old midfielder de Allende and 25-year-old second row Snyman could be the difference in Munster getting beyond the semi-final hurdle they’ve fallen at in Europe and the Pro14 in recent seasons.

south-africa-v-canada-pool-b-2019-rugby-world-cup-kobe-misaki-stadium De Allende will add quality to Munster's midfield. Source: Adam Davy

“Munster have been unlucky with injuries and different things, meaning they sometimes haven’t had their full team out,” said Murphy. “But having those two guys and their world-class quality gives them a better chance of winning those tiny moments that get you over the line.

“The most important thing is that if and when they get to another semi-final, their belief and mental state is in the right space.

“When those guys come in, they give you a better chance just because of that star quality… which is already there in Munster, they’ve just been unlucky not to get everyone on the pitch at the same time. Those two guys are world-class and they give you a better chance.

“That genuine top world-class player, there aren’t many of them and that’s why they’re called world-class. To have two guys like that coming in really, really makes a difference.”

De Allende and Snyman’s most recent rugby has been with their Japanese clubs – Panasonic Wild Knights and Honda Heat, respectively – but the Top League season was cancelled last month due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The South African pair are due to join Munster at the start of July and will hope an easing of the current coronavirus restrictions permits them to do so.

While de Allende and Snyman have primarily been signed to improve Munster’s first team, Murphy believes they can also have a positive influence on the talented crop of players attempting to break through in the southern province.

“It’s huge, at pivotal stages in your career, having a mentor or someone you can turn to,” said Murphy.

“At Leicester, I was lucky to have someone like Daryl Gibson. You can sit down, shoot the breeze, ask some stupid questions, learn from that. The first three or four years you’re in a professional set-up allow you to really manipulate how you think about the game and then you layer that throughout the rest of your career.

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south-africa-v-italy-pool-b-2019-rugby-world-cup-shizuoka-stadium-ecopa Second row Snyman was excellent at the World Cup. Source: Adam Davy

“Those relationships are really important. Doug Howlett was really good when I came to Munster. Aaron Mauger was massive for me after Gibbo left Leicester. I still have a book of notes from sitting and talking with him every week. That’s two guys who are world-class coaches now who moulded how I view the game.

“These two new guys with Munster will be huge for the growth of the younger players.”

Irish-qualified Saracens fullback Matt Gallagher is the third new signing Munster have confirmed ahead of next season, while Jack O’Sullivan, Alex McHenry, Liam Coombes and Keynan Knox will be promoted from the academy.

With Snyman and de Allende joining a Munster squad that also includes players like Ireland internationals Dave Kilcoyne, Tadhg Beirne, CJ Stander, Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray, Chris Farrell, Keith Earls and Andrew Conway, Murphy is looking forward to seeing how everything clicks next season.

As exciting as the new signings is the prospect of a fully-fit Joey Carbery tying things together from the number 10 shirt.

“Joey has been very unlucky,” said Murphy. “He has that maverick style, he can change games in an instant.

“It’s definitely been bitterly disappointing for him as an individual, and disappointing for the organisation, that he has been injured. So to have someone like that all the time, he’s going to be one of their main men.”

Johne Murphy was speaking for the launch of #TheBigRugbyRun campaign, a virtual team relay event in support of Feed The Heroes, who are supplying meals to Ireland’s critical frontline workers as they continue the fight against Covid-19. 

All underage teams participating will be entered into a Grand Prize Draw to win prizes from some leading sports brands. For more details, click here.

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Murray Kinsella

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